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Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life Hardcover – May 21, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Creativity expert Ken Robinson has carved out a niche for himself in the self-help genre. In his latest title, a sequel to the bestselling The Element, Robinson puts forth a strategy for self-analysis and introspection designed to bring about personal transformation. A British native now living in the United States, Robinson, with his conversational tone and relaxed cadence, seems to go out of his way to avoid the forceful delivery generally associated with motivational messages. Even the portions of the recording devoted to Robinson's own inspiring story of coping with the challenges of polio at a young age seem low-key, though still engaging. A Viking hardcover. (May) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

Praise for FINDING YOUR ELEMENT by Sir Ken Robinson

“A book that is as relevant and imperative for the parents of a 12-year-old as it is for the CEO of a behemoth corporation. And with luck it will help you to find yours.”—Vanity Fair

“Fans may glean some insight about understanding who we are as individuals and how we can have a better life that communicates our uniqueness to the world.”—Kirkus Reviews

Finding Your Element is an accessible, actionable guide for discovering what most matters.”—New York Journal of Books
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022380
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ken Robinson wrote this book as a follow-up to his other book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson, Lou Aronica (Reprint Edition) [Paperback(2009)]. He takes a 360 view of your life and walks you through it all. You do a series of exercises where you ask yourself deep questions. You find your element when you find the intersection between your passions and aptitudes.

He has three major principles:

Principle #1: Your Life is Unique.

We're all different.

We're all a mix of nature and nurture.

Principle #2: You create your own life.

Carl Jung: "I am not what has happened to me, I am what I choose to become."

Principle #3: Life is Organic

We all change. We don't have a linear path. He incorporates a lot of examples of successful people who had a completely nonlinear path to success.

Vivek Wadhwa, famous for his work on immigrants working in the technology field in the United States, realized that "there is no link between what you study in college and how successful or otherwise you are later in your life."

Ken Robinson talks about a lot of the existing literature and methods for finding out what your passion is and he's fairly critical of them. He talks about what's called the Forer Effect, also known as the Barnum Effect. You mold your personality to conform with what people tell you your personality incorporates. Robinson is in favor of using personality types to describe yourself, but he says not to let the personality definitions (MBTI for example) limit you.
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Format: Hardcover
According to Ken Robinson, what he characterizes as "The Element" is not a physical location but the challenge is to locate it, nonetheless. "It's about doing something that feels so completely natural to you, that resonates so strongly with you, that you feel as if this is who you really are." Some people locate it in childhood, others decades later, and still others never. "Finding your Element is a quest to find yourself...it is a two-way journey: an inward journey to explore what lies within you and an outward journey to explore opportunities in the world around you." Robinson wrote The Element (2009) with Lou Aronica who also assisted with the writing of Finding Your Element four years later. Ever since the first book was published, Robinson explains, "people have asked me how they can find their own Element, or help other people to find theirs."

In response, this sequel has five main thematic threads that weave throughout the book, each of which is intended to help the reader reflect and focus on finding their own Element and, if they wish to, help others to do so. Robinson provides ideas and principles as well as stories and examples, stories, and other resources such as 15 exercises to complete (more about them in a moment) and clusters of questions to consider at the end of each chapter before moving on to the next. In fact, each chapter title is a question. "Although there are ten chapters in the book, Finding Your Element is not a ten-step program." Just as Oscar Wilde once suggested, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken," Robinson suggests that only the reader can answer the questions posed. "In the end, only you will know if you've found your Element or if you are still looking for it. Whichever it proves to be, you should never doubt this is a quest worth taking.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the book. I'm retiring, albeit reluctantly, from the work that I have loved doing for 40 years. This book comes at the right time for me since I have been struggling with what I can do with my time for this stage of my life other than be a greeter at Wal-Mart. I took Sir Ken's advice and began to take stock of my aptitudes and interests. At various times in my life, I have dabbled in cooking and art with some degree of success and I plan to pursue these interests now and after retirement. Having a passion in life, according to Sir Ken, feeds your spirit and ultimately this is what makes living an adventure. I love his sense of humor (for a first hand experience of a genuinely funny and entertaining talk, see Ken Robinson on the TED website ), his wonderful and realistic way of viewing the world, and sage advice on how to live a fulfilling life regardless of your circumstances. the real life examples were inspiring and thought provoking. This is one book that I will pass along to friends and family looking how to experience life to the fullest.
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Format: Hardcover
I read an excerpt or an interview about Finding Your Element somewhere and somehow I got hooked into the idea that this book contained some revolutionary wisdom on discovering your true calling in life. For me, this wasn't the case. The book is stuffed with a great many tired platitudes, and its "revolutionary insight" basically boils down to the obvious idea of "do what you love."

I'm not saying this is bad advice, or that the commonsense wisdom, spoken through the silver-tongued mouth of Sir Ken Robinson, won't inspire some to get off their butts and take action. But the majority of the book contains disappointingly obvious cliches backed up by real-life accounts of people who have followed this obvious advice, and, unsurprisingly, had positive results. *It worked for Sally-Jo... It can work for you, too!*

For me, the book never digs deep enough into the gritty, challenging areas of helping people transition to a meaningful career. Rarely if ever, for example, does the text address the fact that we live in a techno-industrial civilization that is specifically designed to prevent most people from fulfilling their individual creative potential, and to enslave us in a monolithic, hierarchical corporate economy. "You always have choices," Sir Ken boasts confidently. Well, in today's world of neoliberal domination, choices are becoming narrower and narrower for the vast majority of the population.

The book feels somewhat out of touch with the struggles of everyday people. It's very genial throughout, and the tone is avuncular, as if a rich old uncle is talking to his young rich nephew about whether or not he should be a horse jockey or continue in the family silver business.
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